Thursday, June 22, 2006

SEO Today - Search is Dead? - Doubtful

SEO Today Logo
While Dave Pasternack ( has some valid reasoning as to Yahoo!'s Subscriptions - their new beta service engine, in my opinion, Dave loses me on his thoughts that search will transition because of Yahoo!'s decision to put stock into their Yahoo! Subscriptions Service. After all, we all know Yahoo! is quite monetarily motivated, not user experience motivated, second, Yahoo! is losing market share to Google, the unreputed victor in search engine technology.

While Yahoo! in essence seems to be admitting defeat in the search engine space when it comes to natural search (organic), Yahoo! is just looking to monetize yet another approach to search. Google is making search better through it's many offerings - enhancing the usefulness of the results and user experience. While Google is in no way perfect, and quite frankly, churns out some very useless results, this is a complicated technology and with experience, testing and experiementation - search engines will remain organic in most.

Organic (natural search) may change when the algorythm improves to a level of proficiency within the best 10 results, making the SEO process intense, however, competition will remain and boost the need to know search engine technology inside and out.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

SiteProNews is a free newsletter and webmaster resource site

Site Pro News Webmaster Newsletter
Site Pro News is a great source for website / SEO information, and I would emplore you to signup for their SEO tips newsletter (especially if you are new to SEO). Many of their articles are useful, and best yet, they keep things simple and cite sources for direct information.

Of all the SEO or website development newsletters by email I receive, Site Pro News is one of the better ones. Fo instance, at the time of this writting (06.20.06), Site Pro News has on its home page 25 ways to add quality content to your website (part 1). This article makes its way into some fresh and not-so fresh ideas however, all of them are excellent for SEO and also making your content useful to users. While there are quite a few ads and sponsored links available on their website, the content is always useful and written to inform.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Google Coop Learnings

SEO and Google Coop
Great thing, this Google Coop offering. I was playing around with it an actually learned quite a few useful things regarding the usefulness and utilization of the service. Here are a couple of bits in the way of public knowledge and observation:

1) Google Coop is subscription based - Meaning, only users logged in and subscribed to Google Services will be able to view Coop listings (not coop refinements in the SERP)
2) Google Coop is flexible - The feeds that are provided for subscriber based searches allow for variants and even dynamic rulesetting. For example: If you own a blog at and you wanted anyone looking for [Color]+ site widget, the feeds can be "smart" enough to be found without too much difficulty - such as: "purple site widgets", "blue site widgets" or "green site widgets" (Take a look at the screenshot provided to see what I mean).

3) Google Coop feeds gain more visibility through popularity - Feeds that have high subscriber counts within their industry, gain more visibility through subscriber searches, and also place into the category "authority" sites listings within the Google Coop home website (whether or not someone is subscribed or logged in to Google Services).

Much more to be unveiled soon, however this is certainly a great start with regards to service understanding and knowledge for Google Coop.

Let me know if there is anything else to be added, or perhaps your findings about this service.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Google Spreadsheet - Web-Based Mayhem?

SEO and Google Spreadsheet
Banter and rumors are flying concerning Google Spreadsheet, a new web based application which allows users to create spreadsheet displays online (rumored to be included directly off of Google Toolbar with an additional partnership with Sun).

I am always curious to try a new offering, particularly when it has the potential to be really useful or if it competes against a product I deem inferior within the same class (IE: Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet Program). Although Microsoft's spreadsheet program works to a degree and has helped me create ton's of useful documents, The way it works is... well... a bit clodgy. Web-based may not necessarily be a good thing eaither, unless it offers the potential to be linked into intranet applications using an API... think about this Google Spreadsheet developers (if you haven't already).

We can wish for the best, however in reality, all we can do is wait for Google Spreadsheet and at the current time, it is quite a tease for many in industries which utilize Spreadsheet technologies such as analytics, financial and SEO. Given all of the tools that Google develops and releases, it is amazing at times at the rate in which they are churned out (all in beta mind you).

Comments, anyone?

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Google Music: Part of the Search Engine Suite?

SEO and Google Music
Although I have spoken about Google Music in the past, I've just had the chance to see it in action in the serps. Take a look at the above screenshot and you will see what I mean. I got a Google Music result off of the term "Foxy".

Although this to me is all a part of the Google search engine suite of tools, including but not limited to: Google Maps, Google Local, Google Desktop, Google Toolbar, Google Base, Google Trends, Google Finance and Google Coop. Of course there are many more, butg these seem to be the latest core of applications for the search engine giant, and this particular selection of tools seems to fit the bill when it comes to user search refinement and quality searching.

One thing in common is the logic behind the search engine applications, but they are all unique in the functionality and accessibility they offer to their users and sources. There is much more potential coming from these tools than Google has implemented, but this is certainly a great start. One could easily say that Google has the brain power, money and talent to continue scaling up the mountain of challenge to reach the apex of search engine success (hard to imaging right now as they are humungous and quite prosperous...

Let us all eat cake and the king shall reign for a thousand more years.

KartOO visual meta search engine

SEO and Kartoo Visual Search Engine
I have to say, this search engine is a great implementation of design, interactivity and search in one website. Although it doesn't use it's own blended algorithym, this meta search engine taps into results from a variety of sources and brings them together into a map generated by top twenty results and then "maps" them into a keyword/theme cloud.

This is not only fun, but can also provide guidance for those new to the web, or for practicianers of SEO or website optimization for search engines. By viewing the easily related words per website, one can determine that these words stick out at a search engine (good search engine simultation), posing keyword optimization issues or strengths.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Google Coop Profile and Onebox Listing

SEO and Google Coop
Testing Google Coop has turned to be quite a bit of an unknown, as I have involved several XML feeds... Trying out a combination of elements, outlined in the Google Coop developer pages. I still haven't asked anyone to subscribe to my links just yet, but I am hoping since you are reading this (Hint, Hint), that you would want to subscribe to my SEO Google Coop profile...

I would think you (as a Google Coop subscriber) will start seeing advanced notice of any activities related to bloging, SEO, search engines and of course, any updated info on the Google Coop project (mine indubitably). Let me know what you observe given a subscription to my Google Coop Profile.

And feel free to post relevant and useful Google Coop profiles here as well, the more SEO research oriented or at least early discovery based, the better.

Google Base, Local, Co-op and Screenshots

SEO and Google Base

Google Base, the frontier for Local continues to pop-up in the SERP's in very distinct and unique ways. We've all seen by now the drop downs for selections based on recipes, real estate and jobs, but there is a new intregue upon the horizon.

Enter the specific search below for "Monte Carlo Las Vegas", bringing a travel inlay unlike the usual suspects... I've also included the nifty screenshot for the benefit of making this blip useful. In making this observation useful, I also searched based on the pattern for other "known" hotels in Las Vegas, namely "Paris", "Luxor", "Bellagio" and "Venetian". Funny thing is, that while "Paris" and "Luxor" hotels came up in the Las Vegas search, Bellagio and Venetian inlays were non existant - rather they led directly to the standard SERP listing on Google for the official hotel websites.

When I ran a parallel search on Google for "Las Vegas", I got what appeared to be Google Co-Op, providing a selection of drill-down links to narrow the search down for relevance. This was a very positive thing to me as the more options/filtering of results in Google (easy to run and use of course), the better their future engine will be and ultimately the best user experience when searching.

Take a look at the screenshots provided and let me know if there are ny other searches of interest or perhaps other features and uses. Thanks!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Niche Search Engine Results - Kosmix SE

SEO and Niche Search - Kosmix Search Engine
Kosmix is bringing a new flavor to search - niche results specifically.

Practically, this is a refined search engine looking up relative topics and information across a select vertical set. Namely, Health, Travel, Finance, US Politics and Video Games.

It is refreshing to see how information is laid out at Kosmix, a combination of and, giving refinement categories / key terms once a search is performed.

Although the Kosmix search engine is small right now, I could see where it has it's strengths, certainly specified searches in it's verticals can provide essentially more useful results than in a generic search like MSN or Yahoo!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Snap Search Engine - New Interface, New Search

SEO and Snap Search Engine
Snap has come back into the race with a new interface and also a nifty new search engine. While I don't think it will win any following as of yet, it really is quite easy to use and may in fact beat out (MSN's offering) without much difficulty. There are far less bugs and with a couple more features added to, the search engine might be a serious contender.

Definately check Snap's search engine out, I had fun testing several searches and using the in-browser, browser, lol. There in fact seems to already be a way to "suggest" a website without them actually having any link to it... As a matter of fact, it looks as if Snap uses an approach - Using results that it spiders without recommended URL's then if they exist in the database and someone searches on those sites that aren't yet popular, it votes it into caching a thumbnail and other relevant visual and textual info.

I like that Snap is using the Google Suggest functionality with a twist. The inlaid browser that displays a thumbnail and information regarding that site being looked at, makes it easy to compare result descriptions with actual page content, making the life of a search that much more efficient.

Once again, check it out!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

AlltheWeb - Google Suggest Clone?

SEO and Alltheweb VS Google Suggest
I am sure this search has been around for a while on alltheweb, but I found it to be a very good implementation of a "Google Suggest" clone for search. It's slightly buggy, but for the most part fund and useful. If the engine also moves into being more targetted, perhaps a niche discovery search engine, I think alltheweb might gain popularity and play with the big boys...

Check it out for yourself.

Google Trends - Released for Search Marketing

SEO and Google Trends
Now this tool is quite useful when comparing terms due to consistancy of searches, seasonality of a search and also to determine popularity of terms. So in addition to keyword frequencies, this tool can certinaly help pinpoint the stress-points of an campaign or strategy to optimize it even further. Google Trends also displays regional, language and top cities that conduct the search. Talk about search intelligence!

Furthermore, Google Trends can do wonders for SEO and SEM in external site side optimization and keyword / trend research. It also comes with nifty and easy to use line and bar charts (which can go very well within research, sales and presentation documents). Another note to take in is the viability of ad posting and even related search terms inclusion into results in the future release of Google Trends.

Keep them coming Google.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Why Redirects are Bad

Yes children, it is important to play nicely with the search engines, particularly when getting into linking strategies and redirects.

The article over on Vilesilencer goes into the very basic, highlevel of what to do and what to watch out for when trying to secure links during link building activity. I would say this is a breakdown built for someone who wants to lear SEO or who hasn't worked much with link building.

Check it out and as always, feel free to share your opinions and feedback.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

How to be a StopBouncer

All I have to say is, OMG, what a spammy concept. Not only is this very easy to implement (a javascript declaration on the homepage or landingpage replacing the "Back Button" destination with the spam site.

In theory, this is a good concept, but it seems like in every implementation, it goes to sites like these to ruin the viability of relevant results for users, after all, these are commissioned and can certainly be irrelevant. Figured I would speak on this topic since it's a rare implementation and it's just way to simple an exploit of website visitors...

Yahoo! Search Places Yahoo! Buzz on SERPs

While this SEO round table article doesn't favor Yahoo! placing Yahoo! Buzz results in it's SERP, I have to say there is one very positive thing coming out of Yahoo! and Google for that matter.

There seems to be a surge in search engine tool integration directly into the SERPs. While Yahoo! Buzz may not be best suited in this fashion, it's nice to see that Yahoo is taking search a bit more seriously and making a move on enhancing results.

Yahoo! Buzz would certainly help some users and for some particular searches, could be valued, but I am sure Yahoo has other tools which can be even more effective... to better follow in Google's footsteps with Google Local and Google Base.

I will certainly keep my eye on this movement and see if any new suprises appear.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Flash Optimization and Website SEO Best Practices

Anyone interested in using flash and also creating a successful SEO campaign - Check this article out. It's a must.

This is an excellent example of how to and how not to use Flash on a website that is looking to gain traffic or to conduct SEO. The biggest no-no's for Flash is to have a 100% flash based website. It is a large topic of discussion in the SEO community - whether or not Google and the other large search engines (MSN, Yahoo, ASK) pick up on difficult-to-impossible coding technologies (IE: Flash and Javascript). Until search engines are 80% or more accurate at searching these types of files/code, there is no reason to adopt them. It may work in the longterm or it may not, one thing is for sure, simple is better.

Although I hate eye sores, you know, those websites made all of text with about 30 colors, many of them do extremely well and it is not because of their design. Think about it for a second, those websites are extremely thin, little to no hinderances in terms of code and visible content, thus search engines can better read and spider (AKA: scan) websites. This in turn improves the success of an SEO campaign or effort.

In my opinion, I don't refrain from using images, flash or javascript. I just offload javascript to external files, minimize the lines of code those external references take on a page, use a reasonable amount of images (roughly 10-20% of the page), and no more than 30% of flash is used on a page. When imbedding navigation into flash, I always double it up with either image links with alt attributes or straight-up text links (preferred).

Read the article for a bit more insight into this topic. I know you will find it useful and perhaps a great learnings opportunity.

Google vs. Microsoft Round 2: IE7, Firefox, Google & MSN

This story, fresh off the press from Search Engine Watch, involves a treacherous plot followed by reveling in absolute horror and finally topped with incredulous mayhem! Just kidding, its the ongoing Google VS Microsoft battle involving a buch of whining, software debates and the neverending fight for market share.

Thing is, Google's bundled into firefox and now Microsoft intends on integrating MSN (Live) search into IE7. Of course Google has a problem with this move on Microsoft's part and has filed complaints, however is it fair that they do the same with firefox? Essentially We understand a couple of things that also make this unfair:

1) Microsoft sells everything under the sun (OS's, Search, Electronics, software) whereas Google is purely search (working on getting other offerings, clearly)
2) Google dominates the search market share, something like 45% VS MSN's 11%.

So this cannot be considered apples to apples, but on the search landscape, Google clearly owns it. As has been mentioned on other blogs, the two should shift from default settings to an initial user setup to determine which engine they want set up as default. Personally, they should just set the default to clusty, just to agree that neither will be favored ;)

I left this comment on the page as an opine relation to the subject and companies:

It's pretty incredible how easily the tide turns. Microsoft, just recently, in the public's eyes, was considered the big brother / evil corporation and now Google's being put into that role.
The difference I believe is that both Google and Microsoft are the worlds mega corporations and it would seem perception has made them equal. Although users are somewhat married to Google search and Microsoft Windows, most refuse to let go to adopt new software, and perhaps with good reason. It costs alot and also requires a good bit of learning shifts and perhaps even paradigm altering.
Despite the battle between the goliaths, so long as they perform at least to par, we are certainly talking business.
By the way, I don't agree with Microsoft most times, but they are certainly using a strategy followed by tactic that will raise their search market share.

Let me know what you think, love to get feedback on these topics.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Niche Web networking sites chase MySpace ad dollars

A friend introduced me to myspace years ago, but it has really gained steam in the media as of late. As a matter of fact the "Social Networking" website has brought my best friend a fiance, and they are extremely well matched. I couldn't believe that Myspace could be a way to communicate effectively since to me it seemed like a college micro-site and nothing more, but once again, its how people use it and think of it - not how basic or advanced.

Well on to the actual story at hand. The article at CNN Money goes into a couple of new companies poised to make money off of the social networking space - based all on topics and subjects in business and personal fields. Everything from joke sharing to business collaboration.

Realizing that this is precisely what the Internet was envisioned to accomplish, these sites should do phenomenally well... Looks like the big boys have it in a vice at this point, but as always, the 'net gives the little folk quite some leverage...

Like the old saying goes, "Give a man a fish and he will eat for days, give a man a fishing pole and the man can live for years." , or at least somewhere along those lines. You get the point.

Video Diaries - Exposing the Vlog

How often have you sat by your laptop or cellphone and wished you could reach out to an audience while daydreaming, only to know you've gotten through loud and clear? Nope, me neither... but someone's got to get a reason.

I admit, when blogs just became known, I shrugged them off as diaries for little kids back in 2000-2001, but they have certainly come of age and advanced far beyond what I expected. Although they are in fact fun or useful and informative, there are lacking elements such as touch, animation and smell. Obviously we have not come of age for those senses through technology (at least not publically known or available).

Welcome to Vlogs. Practically an online video diary which can be used in a plethora of ways - everything from commercials to low-budget films to someone's every day existance. I can certainly ses this as a huge thing in the next year two with the abundant proliferation of video blogginh devices such as cell phones, Ipods and combination gizmos.

Let us all rejoice, yet another way to waste time in the office! But seriously, this coulod be a liberating experience for you and I, perhaps even a life saving method of delivery for those without the means to get their messages out from third-world countries and the like...

We will soon see and be able to contribute to this new found and widely available medium.

Google VS Microsoft: Search Who?

Practically this is the anti-trust stigmata that has plagued Microsoft since the beginning of it's days... I would expect that there are a few variables responsible for this reaction.

1) Microsoft has so much marketshare for OS sales and similar lines of computer products
2) Microsoft is clearly working on taking the search marketplace
3) Microsoft has leverage through its motive and domineering marketshare products

Simultaneously, considering the priciple of business operations and leverage, I would, in Microsoft's shoes also slip in "default" settings to MSN. Since Microsoft is leving users a choice by making the option available to select other search engines as default, they are in fact opening the OS and bypassing anti-trust related issues.

Its obviously to Google's gain to have the select your default search engine durring the OS setup, however, wouldn't that be too easy? After all this is business, not an arbitrary group looking out for all parties...

Google VS Microsoft - Monopolizing Search via OS

Practically this is the anti-trust stigmata that has plagued Microsoft since the beginning of it's days... I would expect that there are a few variables responsible for this reaction.

1) Microsoft has so much marketshare for OS sales and similar lines of computer products
2) Microsoft is clearly working on taking the search marketplace
3) Microsoft has leverage through its motive and domineering marketshare products

Simultaneously, considering the priciple of business operations and leverage, I would, in Microsoft's shoes also slip in "default" settings to MSN. Since Microsoft is leving users a choice by making the option available to select other search engines as default, they are in fact opening the OS and bypassing anti-trust related issues.

Its obviously to Google's gain to have the select your default search engine durring the OS setup, however, wouldn't that be too easy? After all this is business, not an arbitrary group looking out for all parties...

Thursday, April 20, 2006

List of Google services and tools - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It's pretty amazing when you think about how many Google Services exist for users, everything from finance to specialized services to email and travel planning. The wikipedia page referenced goes more in depth into these services (80+% of them in beta), and gives you a complete picture of Google's masterplan, as of yet.

I do find many of there services incredibly useful and relevant, and many others redundant or quite trivial for advanced use. I think it's Google covering their bases when it comes to a variety of their users and human behaviors online. Obviously, Blogger is one of my favorit tools and gmail is quite smooth. The Google Base Beta is becoming a favorite of mine, but still has quite a few bugs and it's patterns of use (in terms of SEO) are not well known, making this a bit of an enigma...

Monday, April 17, 2006

Google Calendar

Yet another Google application setting itself up to become an important appliance for Google's users. It is actually quite useful in the fact that it may be generated by buckets so you can have multiple calendars for different functions or just one for all. I am poised to take a more indepth look at this tool to see it if it integrates into Outlook or allows direct integration with Gmail, Google Base and other Google specific tools.

Look out folks, next might be Google's own personalized E-shop... perhaps Google and Amazon really will be close fitting for this endeavor...

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

GoogleBase Integrated With Google SERPs-- Frog Blog Search Marketing Guru

What was interesting about this whole topic is that Google is testing its Google Base offering in the SERP and that the pattern by which it posts specific search terms is not known or even discussed on forums or blogs related to SEO. I know I've been using the Google Base interface for submitting real estate, events and even services. The listings look great, are easy to modify and do come up rather well in Google Base searches. The only thing I would like to and intend on studying is how Google or Google Base determines a search term should be utilized for the SERP results. For instance as is mentioned in this article, "houses for sale", "apartment for sale", and "los angeles real estate" all show the Google Base form on the SERP at top, however when you search for other locations or offerings that would be in Google, they don't necessarily come up in the results.

In time it will become clear, and perhaps they might also be simply testing out a few chosen terms, thus making it relatively impossible to be sure that a theory can be applied. Check me up in a later date when I will be discussing my findings on this matter and how it can be applied to SEO related efforts.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Wiser About The Web

This article dated on the 27th of March (Today is the 21st...), is pretty indicative of the trends surounding online marketing and SEO/SEM. I've been involved in the online world for over 12 years now and I have seen quite a few things progress. One of them is definately online tracking. This is a definate read if you are interested in the sorts of data advertising agencies and Search marketing firms acquire. If you couple those measurements with the metrics data search engines like Google and Yahoo collect/provide, you can see how truly little annomity we have online. Scary though, but the complete truth.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Google Music Search - Tool for Audiophiles

Yet another great tool in the Google Arsenal, Music Search. Although I am not sure if this is new, I just found out about this about a week ago and although it is a fledgling technology, the promise is there. Next best thing to add to this tool to make it a killer app is to be able to play a sound byte/sample off of the search page (probably using AJAX). This would make the experience very fluid and probably allow Google or affiliates to make immediate purchases (which I know I've fallen victim to... and many others will also.).

Monday, March 20, 2006

Kinderstart Vs. Google - Who will Win? Who Cares?

Reading this article about Kinderstart's suite against Google, it becomes immediately appearent that online marketing can be cutthroat and at times innane. In this case, I can understand the upset that Kinderstart must have experienced when 80% of its revenue was lost and 70% of its traffic vanished, however, on the same note, Google makes these updates often and that is one of the majoy risks of operating with a dependancy on one site / search engine, or portal.

Operating in the SEO/SEM space, professionals like myself understand that updates can certainly "shake things up", but we move on and determine a new strategy to shift the reality of search engine filtration to our favor. As the profession grows up, we will understand how to more effectively implement a strategy that can work well for years at a time and be augmented slightly to maintain the effect.

This lawsuit seems quite lame in my opinion as any one of my clients, or me for that matter, could go around suing Google willy'nilly for similar results, but in our minds, we know better. Shame on Kinderstart for starting a battle that is unjust, and hopefully nothing beneficia comes of this site for Kinderstart.

Technology is a tool, not an end. There ends my rant.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Google Offers SEO Selection Guidelines

As interesting a topic as this is, it holds so much in terms of emphasis for the growth and development of the SEO profession. After the search engines and concerned "netizens" began policing search engine abuses by black and grey hat SEO's back in 1999/2000, the profession began its movement to become a true profession which could garner salary and reputation worthy of the effort and improvement brought forth. No movement was greater however, than over the past 2 years where it became outrageously obvious that Search engines were clamping down on black hats, concerned "netizens" were not accepting the abuse anymore, corporations were more aware of the implication of "spamming" search engines and overall SEO professionalism became a true virtue.

While I and many others have always stayed true to white hat tactics, for quite some time there was angst over the popularity and widespread underground approval or "whatever it takes" tactics for SEO's. I can safely say that the search engines: Google, Yahoo!, MSN and others are indeed doing a great job at improving algorithms in this way and that the SEO community is beginning to get serious on improving reputation and actual optimization of websites, the way it should have always been... is now becoming a reality.

About time.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Microsoft launches revamped search engine

Yet another article about the Microsoft initiatives to improve beyond Google's status as the defacto search engine of current. The good thing here, is that, now there are a couple more details about their new engine, plans for the near future to burst onto the scene ahead of Google and also a name for their new technology. Microsoft dubs their brand spanking new web search application, "live".

Set to be replacing the current MSN engine technology, "live" will be running through a undetermined length test-phase on and once deemed read to launch, will replace engine. Features planned to improve the technology beyond that which exists right now is tabbed searches conducted simultaneously in one window, smart pane technology which will allow for display of more or less result information according to user specifications/needs, and image searches in tandem with copy and information searches. A great possibility also lies in more natural searches conducted off of logical questions as opposed to keyword based searching which is not completely considered natural.

Now, it will definately become appearent that if this becomes the star of search, I and other SEO specialists will be looking into new ways of designing search term optimization patterns, and could
A) create a more accessible method of penetration into search results or
b) be detrimental to search tactics and be more of an uphill battle to get results from optimization efforts...

At this time, we will just have to study, analyze and wait to find what the future brings.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Microsoft says better than Google soon |

I am certainly interested in this bit of news as Microsoft is making a really big claim and the correlation between their efforts with their Small Business Directory and the effects seen in the market with that directory has improved. The fact that Microsoft's Bcentral directory has been placed as one of the more important directories from a position of not even being known over the past 10 years, shows me and perhaps the rest of the SEO / SEM community that they are serious in positioning their search services in front of competitors.

The question, will they succeed, is yet another issue. After all they are facing two giants, Yahoo! and Google. Google of course being the most proactive and R&D focused competitor, willing and able to try everything to dominate the search market.

The most intreguing thing at this time for me is how Microsoft intends to be better than Google's 100+ point site analysis. What could they tweak or add on to their algorythm to improve search relevance and thus beat out the functionality and quality of results that Google churns out? I am sure this is on the mind of every SEO professional who has read the article.

All we can do at this point is wait and see.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Submitting to Google and Yahoo Local

Although links are the focus of link building, it is important to grab at opportunities that are considered traditional. Although getting a local listing (like the yellow pages) is somewhat traditional, there is a new spin on the quality since now there are identical ways to get info listed online. Superpages is a good example of an online yellow pages that supports internet listings and searches.

Get listed at Google and Yahoo! local to see some extra, qualified traffic. You'll need location information for your offices, a phone number to list, a description of what you do or sell, an email address and website. For Google, you'll might want to use your Google account, which you already have if you've signed up for Gmail, Adwords, Google Sitemaps or any other online based Google product. Local search is becoming more important to your business so start by using their form and verification process. Basic Local Yahoo listings are free of charge just like Google Local.

My Favorite SEO Tools - Professional Picks

Since there are many good tools to conduct SEO / SEM campaigns, I felt like sharing some of my favorites, and in doing so, I believe they are the best in the industry. I hear from many SEO professionals that getting a good sampling of keyword search stats comes down to the use of a tool like wordtracker, and while it is useful, it doesn't quite have the right feel for me. To collect the searches conducted on a term or "like" term, I use Yahoo! /Overture's Keyword tool instead of wordtracker. The searches performed can be compaired against a search done in MSN, Yahoo! or Google to get the success factor by comparing the ratio of competitive results to searches performed per month. Obviously, the more searches performed to the least competitive results, is what any good SEO looks for.

For link building campaigns or determining the history of links from a site / client, I like the link reputation tool. It can be slow at times, but overall, I do find it useful and enlightening. Furthermore, Seochat's Pagerank search can be used to find high pageranked sites that are link building opportunities. The best part about this is that Seochat publishes a plethora of useful tools, all in one spot.

Other tools include:

Don't have or want the Google toolbar? Use Seochat's Pagerank Lookup.
Want to get your site up to par with SEO like symantic structure and "rules", try sitening's SEO analyser (a definite killer app) . Honorable mention does go to the developers of another SEO analyser which with a little more tweaking, might catch up to Sitening's tool.
Looking to see how many pages of your site or client site are indexed by the major engines? Try the index report tool.
To find a list of robots crawling websites, check out the robots list.
Dont necessarily want the robot list, but do want the robot user agents?
An alternative to Seochat's link popularity tool is this one.

In conclusion, these tools make the process of acquiring SEO statistics and data, easier and allow for a more complete "picture" or the situation you are facing in your optimization battles. Use them, they will definately help and provide a way to track results.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Section 508 Checklist

I found an excellent resource for 508 compliance checking. If you need to understand how to code or recode your website to be 508 compliant, then I would certainly check this site out to learn how. Right now, I am using the checklist to compare my coding process with current sites developed to learn how I can better my code and pass compliance. I would from this point on, code any and all new sites to be compliant from get-go.

Although you or I may never need a screen reader to understand a webpage, there are many who do, and to make things pleasant for our visitors, everyone must be considered (to a reasonable degree of course... I don't plan on supporting 640x480 resolution or the like.).

It's alwasy wise to do a 508 validation checkafter you are done coding elements to see if everything has been coded/recoded properly. Looking for a simple understanding of the section 508 compliance standard?

Feel free to comment, add or suggest other useful tools, articles and tips.
[Image above searched on Google Images and source found on]

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Making the Switch to XHTML from HTML 4

Although XHTML has been around for a long while, many websites have not been made to be XHTML compliant and as a matter of fact, not 508 compliant... This poses issues as the major search engines like Google, Yahoo!, MSN and ASK are starting to or will be adhering tightly to standard coding which has been brought up to speed with usability, accessibility and "clean code", and at this time of writing the standard is XHTML.

While I will admit in many ways it is easy as web coding professionals with many years of experience to continue coding HTML 4, as it is easier, but there are many reasons why we should not. First, HTML is clunky and quite honestly, poorly coded and heavy. Second, if you are serious about promoting your website, services or products, then you must keep up with search engine trends and Internet standards with regard to demand.

What is XHTML?

XHTML is an acronym for Extensible Hypertext Markup language and is comprised of a mix of the best elements from HTML and XML, indeed a hybrid. XHTML was developed to create a stricter standard for web pages, to reduce incompatibilities between browsers, and to create a universal standard for document format which could be used on different platforms, devices, etc.

XHTML is Prime

The best thing about XHTML is that it is almost the same as HTML. While you cannot get away with lazy coding practices, it may actually be better for coders since the page coding is kept to a minimum and layouts are cleaner.

Changes in XHTML Vs. HTML

There are several main changes to the way an XHTML page is formed that HTML has never conformed to:

  • All tags must be lowercase

  • Example: <font> NOT <Font> OR <FONT>
  • Each page must have a defined DOCTYPE declaration

  • Documents must be properly formed

  • All tags must be well formed

  • Example: <br> must now be <br> AND <img alt="" src="a.gif" /> is now <img alt="" src="a.gif" /gt;
  • Certain attibutes have been made obsolete

  • The name attibute is different now

  • Example: <img src="a.gif" name="name" /> MUST NOW BE <img id="name" src="a.gif" />
  • Attributes cannot be shortened

  • All tags must be properly nested

About DocType

There are three types for XHTML: Strict, Transitional and Frameset.
Here are examples of those DOCTYPE declarations -


Strict is to be used if the page markup is very clean and is much more difficult to adhere to.

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "">


This is to be used if you still require certain use of HTML or if you prefer your code to be somewhat loose (while adhereing to XHTML standards of course).

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "">


If you use frames, this is the declaration for you.

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Frameset//EN" "">

Note: The declaration should be used in the very first line of your XHTML page. Since the DOCTYPE declaration is a comment tag in essence to older browsers, you do not have to worry about any such related issues.

In addition to making tags lowercase, adding alt attributes to every image (they can be empty) and not shortening attributes (ie: <input type="checkbox" name="true"> NOW IS <input type="checkbox" href="" named="true">, but now it must be formed like: <a href="">.

There are other things to take not of when it comes to validating for XHTML, but these elements are some of the biggest and most common to adapt. Changing these to be XHTML compliant will certainly make the process easier and swifter. Good luck and Good Coding!

BlogShares - Web Site Design Company

I found an interesting site that I've never seen prior. BlogShares is a website that lists blogs in almost the same fashion that the NYSE does with money stocks. So instead of stoking in companies, there is a perceived value and trade cost for blogs online. I think it is a fun concept and will participate... Love to check out new fun websites afterall, I am in the web biz. Our Blog is bring traded under BlogShares - Web Site Design Company and is valued as of this writing at b$1000 (b$ is blog bucks).

Anyone else have any experience with this website or a similar website?

Friday, February 17, 2006

Just When I thought it was Safe to Blog Again...

A blog, right here on blogger, labelling itself as the Nexium Blog, is filling itself with garbage posts that use a bunch of expensive vocabulary words to fill in the page. At the end of every post is a link to a Gambling site.

Clearly this is BLOG-SPAM, and I have seen it once before, almost similar in style... I think it may even be the same person because I swear I saw one of those gamling links before. While this certainly is not related to Website Design or SEO, I felt that it was importnat to mention... After all, it abuses the trust online that we should foster, not ravage.

Additionally, This is a "black hat" tactic for gambling SEO. Clearly not smart and a waste of space, time and an abuse to all who belong.

What do you think? Feedback is appreciated.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Google Acquires Measure Map

Measure Map seems to be a really useful tool for tracking visits, posts and blog use. Now that it is part of the Google universe, It is yet another reason to use Google. Funny thing is that their "invitation" form (posted on their homepage) seems to be using AJAX, the very same implementation technology for Google Suggest.

While right now this is a "cool" tool, it certainly can be as useful or more so than Google's Urchin, for Blogs, of course. While Measure Map is primarily focused on a blogger's use, I am sure SEO firms and professionals will be picking up the tool for Optimization and tracking purposes. While it lacks the complete functionality of an integrated analytics application, no doubt, with an API set, it may just do the trick...

I m waiting to be invited to check out the tool in all of it's glory. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Yahoo Testing New Homepage

Yahoo! is trying something new... Apparently it's with a new design and the functional use of AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript And XML). I remember when DHTML was considered the hot acronym, after all, it is not a new technology but a combination of scripting language, document coding and remote access to data stores.

In my opinion the combination that AJAX provides in terms of functionality and design will propel it to be of great use (and not just in personal sites). DHTML was a fad and didn't last long before being reconsidered as a has-been, but AJAX is actually useful and for the most part, conforms to standards.

It will certainly be of interest to me, and I will be posting more on AJAX and it's functional/designing uses for website design and development.

Additionally, for anyone interested in a tutorial on AJAX check out these resources:
IBM AJAX Tutorial : Part 1 / Part 2

Let me know what you think about these tutorials, perhaps even your take on the tech combo itself and implications on the web. After all, I have seen and really loved the Google suggest tool that uses a bit of AJAX guruism.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Matt Cutts on Google's International Web Search Spam Removal Initiatives

It's been a fact that Google has been improving search engine algorithms to detect "search spam" such as doorway pages, hidden text, and other cloaking techniques that belong to the fray of "Black Hat" SEO firms and professionals. Just a minor digress... Living some time as a "white-hat hacker" it was appearent that the term "Black Hat" refered to the hackers that caused malicious damage and were purely after profit as opposed to the clean motives of the "White Hat", looking to save the day by abiding by guidelines or honor...

As a white hat SEO, I understand that it can be tempting to try using cloaking techniques that at the moment work, but can easily be offset by the understanding that with risk comes consequence, and in Google's case, it is pretty severe! Right now those black hat SEO firms could be reaping the dough and traffic, then one day, ZERO. Not one visit, not one conversion. Now that is a painful online death.
(Reaper image above from a Blog)

Search Engine 101: How to lose a Search Team

Although this story is quite hot of the press, it seems that the Lycos Search Engine has laid off it's team. Through the years as MSN, Yahoo! and Google came up from the dirt into the highest ranks of search, Lycos, Hotbot and more just seemed to wither into nothingness. I do remember a time when I refused to use google and stuck to hotbot... that is until hotbot began to issue irrelevant results and too much advertising!

I have to say, sometime around 1997 Lycos had an awesome FTP/file search tool which was quite short lived, and needless to say, I too had no reason anymore to use them. Although this report could be taken to mean that the folks working on search are considered to be in the dangerous plumes of job loss, industry-wide, I feel it is simply the mis-mangement of a Search Engine Superstar-wanabee.

Alas, Lycos has joined the living dead, and it is only a matter of time before it collapses into the clutches of a real Search Engine superstar, or worse yet, dissipates into absolute and dark nothingness.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Website Facelift

Hello everyone.

The past month has involved many new changes to the site in terms of W3 validation of XHTML and CSS. Not only has it been a pain in the rear, but a serious look at the structure and quality of the site itself. I've been in the business of designing and developing web sites for years and have concentrated my time on good old HTML, so making the transition to XHTML and CSS has been a bit difficult.

As anyone redeveloping a site knows, there is always rom for improvement and it never seems to be perfect (not even for the time-being), so we often overcompensate by making "pretty" graphics to cover up our code (::).

The good news is that after running the site through a couple of SEO and code validators, the site's main page scored high in SEO quality and validated at 100% for XHTML transitional and CSS. The next logical step is transfering the table structure to CSS and making changes to score a XHTML strict validation.

Until next time, try a couple of these great tools online: - Page Density Analyser - HTML, XHTML and CSS validators - SEO related tools such as "pagerank lookup", "link popularity", "future pagerank" and "google dance" tools.